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Vegan Mayonnaise Company Starts Growing Its Own Meat In Labs, Says It Will Get To Stores First (qz.com) 409

Chase Purdy reports via Quartz: The maker of vegan mayonnaise has been working on getting lab-made meat onto dinner tables everywhere. It's just that nobody knew about it. Hampton Creek -- a company that built its name on plant-based condiments and vegan-friendly cookie doughs -- today revealed that, for the last year, it has been secretly developing the technology necessary for producing lab-made meat and seafood, or as the industry likes to call it, "clean meat." Perhaps even more surprising is that Hampton Creek expects to beat its closest competitor to market by more than two years. Since it was founded in 2015, Memphis Meats has raised at least $3 million from five investors for the development of its meat products, according to Crunchbase. By contrast, Hampton Creek -- just a 20-mile drive from its Silicon Valley rival -- has raised more than $120 million since 2011. It's one of Silicon Valley's unicorns -- a company that has a valuation that exceeds $1 billion.
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Vegan Mayonnaise Company Starts Growing Its Own Meat In Labs, Says It Will Get To Stores First

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  • by wideBlueSkies ( 618979 ) * on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @11:30PM (#54702575) Journal

    Growing meat in their Axlotl tanks......

    The Gholas... They're made of meat!

    • by CaptnCrud ( 938493 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @12:34AM (#54702803)

      You mean it slig meat, a half slug half pig creature that fed on garbage and body parts.

      I remember the books saying it was thought as the tastiest meat in the known universe (except no one but the tleilaxu knew what sligs were or what they fed on).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by ls671 ( 1122017 )

      Growing meat in their Axlotl tanks......

      The Gholas... They're made of meat!

      More like laying eggs. Real mayonnaise is eggs and vegetable oil with a touch of vinegar and seasonings.

      So "vege" mayonnaise could possibly be mayonnaise without eggs. No thank you, I will stick with old school. It is comparable to people eating margarine instead of butter because butter contains cholesterol. Well, guess what? Your body will produce cholesterol with the overdose of margarine you may feed yourself although there is none in the intake. I eat butter. Just control your doses and you will be al

      • by oscode ( 2622581 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @07:15AM (#54703687)
        The problem vegans have with the egg industry are that the hens are usually severely mistreated before being butchered as soon as their productivity declines at the age of around 6. Right now roughly 50% of chicks that are born are male, and they are useless to the egg industry, so they are killed usually by being ground up alive or by being suffocated using carbon dioxide, which is fairly slow and unpleasant process. Eggs are not a victimless food.
        • by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @09:17AM (#54704171)

          roughly 50% of chicks that are born are male, and they are useless to the egg industry, so they are killed usually by being ground up alive or by being suffocated using carbon dioxide, which is fairly slow and unpleasant process.

          Third wave feminists are sponsoring research to see if the process can scale up to include human males.

          • If you're going to be snarky, at least be accurate. The Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM) was second-wave.

  • ...when you have perfectly good animals that are already made out of food?

    • by fustakrakich ( 1673220 ) on Tuesday June 27, 2017 @11:43PM (#54702617) Journal

      Yeah, but they're a tiny bit labor and resource intensive. With lab grown meat, you might be able to grow yer own on the kitchen counter top.

    • by godrik ( 1287354 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @12:01AM (#54702679)

      Well, it could eventually get cheaper to grow meat rather than raise the animals. It could also have implication for places were it is inconvenient to raise animals. Think in the polar region or the desert. Also, raising animal is not environmentally friendly and my not scale to a 10 billion human population at US consumption rate.

      Some people object to eating animal products (7+ million in the us, 350+ million in the world) but may not object to grown meat which could be a trillion dollar industry in itself.

      • by glenebob ( 414078 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @12:13AM (#54702739)

        I do not object, per se, to eating animals. Animals are yummy, and it's not my fault. However, the very instant a passable, affordable, non-animal meat product becomes available, I'm in. I would very happily do without the killing aspect of eating delicious animal protein.

        • by Scarletdown ( 886459 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @12:16AM (#54702743) Journal

          I'm a long term member of the other PETA... People Eating Tasty Animals. And there is a place for many of nature's creatures; right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy.

          • I personally am a vegetarian. I just like my vegetables processed into pork, or beef, or chicken...
        • by houghi ( 78078 )

          The first thing that will go will be the quality. The way the food industry is dealing with things now (Let's put some more corn sugar in it) does not make me want to wait for it.
          "But there will be rules" you might say. Sure and they will have been made by the companies. Because seriously, who cares about the scheeple anyway.

        • When I'm eating I look for more then passable food.
    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @01:52AM (#54703009) Homepage

      Because you have to put a lot of perfectly good food into those animals to get far less food out of them.
      Current meat production practices are unsustainable when expanded to a global scale.
      So unless you want to maintain the first-world/third-world gap, meat production or consumption has to change.
      Since we all know the latter is not going to happen any time soon, we need to tackle the former.

      • So unless you want to maintain the first-world/third-world gap, meat production or consumption has to change

        If you live in a country where your average citizen is making oh...$900USD per year, at $12/lb this "vegan" meat seems like something you totally wouldn't buy. I mean, not when you can get meat from a cow @ $4/lb or @ $2/lb from a chicken.

        At some point economy of scale and competition may make soylent-meat cheaper but right now it really only makes sense for people who have ethical problems with

        • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

          At some point economy of scale and competition may make soylent-meat cheaper but right now it really only makes sense for people who have ethical problems with eating delicious animals, not people in the third world who just want to eat something besides relief agency rice and oppression.

          Currenty, you are absolutely right.
          It's like the earliest hybrid/electric cars (remember the first Tesla, The one based on the Lotus frame?); way too impractical and expensive as a viable solution for the majority, but good enough for enough people to make it possible to build up the economy of scale you need for mass market adoption. We're still not there yet, but I dare say that few would be blind enough not to deny a future of non-petrol cars.

          You can bet that the first few artificial meat products will b

      • Because you have to put a lot of perfectly good food into those animals to get far less food out of them.

        This is why most of the world eats a lot of goat. It can eat stuff we can't. Anyone care to do a back-of-the-envelope calculation of what switching 100% from cows to goats eating Kudzu would do to CO2 emissions?

    • Reversing moderation.
    • What's the point... ...when you have perfectly good animals that are already made out of food?

      You're an animal. A perfectly good one. Made out of food. But we don't eat you. Why? Because we respect the life and potential and feelings you represent, and find the idea of causing you pain, or harm, or loss of life, to be repugnant.

      Some of us extend that to other animals. Consequently, we don't want to eat those other animals any more than we want to eat you.

      For us, "clean meat" as TFS has it, is very welcome.

      S

    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      The point starts with vegans that can't see themselves eating meat due guilt etc etc etc..
      But then MCDonalds takes over, discovers how to make those huge meatplants that create the cheapest,greasiest and most addictive artificial groundmeat they can and have those massive machines that requires no farmers, no cow or advanced infrastructure. Direct from the tube to your burger.

  • "Memphis Meats is a food technology company headquartered in San Francisco"

    I'm totally going to try this stuff, but I think I'm going to call it decepticon meat instead.
  • so the computer can understand what meat is.

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @01:45AM (#54702999) Journal

    dyslexic jihadists get 27 vegans.

  • Not real meat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @03:17AM (#54703151)

    Superficially it will look like meat, but when you study the details, I'm sure you'll find plenty of differences. The chemicals that make up a piece of steak, for instance, are not all made locally in the muscle that it's cut from. For instance, the iron comes from red blood cells that are made in the bone marrow. The B12 vitamins are made by bacteria in the gut of the animal. Other things are made in the liver, spleen, gut, kidneys, and even the skin, and all transported through the bloodstream, where they infuse the muscle. Other things come the animal's food, or are made by microorganisms that form a symbiotic relationship with the animal. For instances, cows can survive on grass, but grass contains very little protein. The cow's stomachs work as fermentation tanks, using fungi and bacteria to create proteins (among other things) from grass. If you do a chemical analysis, you'd probably find thousands of different chemicals, made in different places. Some of these chemicals may be vital for our health. Some of them, we haven't even identified yet.

    The problem with "fake meat" is that all these nutritional deficiencies are hidden. People just a piece of meat by taste, smell, and texture, not by availability of nutrients. At the same time, the industrial producer is only interested in profit, so they have every motivation to cut corners and produce a cheap but tasty piece of food, with little regard for nutrition.

    • Superficially it will look like meat, but when you study the details, I'm sure you'll find plenty of differences.

      I entirely agree. At the end of the day, it'll be a completely different product, but it will be able to carry the "meat" branding. A far better use of money and resources would be to do better branding around current meat alternatives like Seitan and Tempeh, which are often an already excellent substitute for lower quality meat like in chicken nuggets and the like. A good Ad Campaign making these meat alternatives mainstream would go a lot longer distance.

    • On the other hand, we have people who are currently subjecting themselves to be lab rats, testing whether we can survive without meat. There are actually quite a few doing a long term study, even, who have not been eating meat for years now (and counting), and it should be possible to observe in them whether not eating meat is going to be viable or if we have to add certain nutrients to a meat-deprived diet.

      If these people (IIRC that test group is called "vegans") manage to go for, say, 30-40 years without

      • Re:Not real meat (Score:4, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @08:41AM (#54704007) Homepage Journal

        If these people (IIRC that test group is called "vegans") manage to go for, say, 30-40 years without meat and don't show any signs of malnutrition, I think it's safe to say that this artificial meat is not going to mean any loss of valuable nutrients if we replace animal-grown meat with this vat-grown variant.

        But that's not what happened. Vegans are so at-risk from malnutrition that even vegan and vegetarian sites have to include articles on how to avoid it, which is much more difficult if you don't eat meat.

      • Re:Not real meat (Score:5, Informative)

        by Oswald McWeany ( 2428506 ) on Wednesday June 28, 2017 @10:05AM (#54704435)

        On the other hand, we have people who are currently subjecting themselves to be lab rats, testing whether we can survive without meat.

        Hardly lab rats. A sizable percent of India (the world's most populous country) have been eating a vegetarian diet for centuries. The longest lived communities in the world all share a common trait: very little meat consumption.

        It's not an experiment. You can survive without eating meat, and you will probably live longer if you don't eat much of it. It's not that we can't live without meat, it's that meat is tasty and we enjoy eating it.

        I know less meat and more veggies is healthy for me, but I'm not giving up meat because I love meat.

        • Little meat consumption is not no meat consumption. It could well be that we can survive on little but not on no meat, what then?

          No, we need the data from those brave men and women risking their lives so we learn what additives we have to pump into the artificial meat.

      • by clodney ( 778910 )

        If you go to India you can find tens (hundreds?) of millions of people who have been vegetarian all their lives. Not strict vegan, but vegetarian. I think you will find that it is a perfectly normal and sustainable dietary regimen.

        Excepting outliers like Eskimos or nomads that live almost exclusively on animal products, I suspect that for most of human history people's diets have been primarily vegetarian with sporadic meat consumption.

        Sporadic meat consumption is probably enough for a bunch of trace nutri

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      While all of that may be true, we have plenty experience making vitamin supplements and vegans/vegetarians make it without meat so they can't be all that essential. Hell, I hear some people live on Soylent. And then you have all the bacteria you don't want in there and the antibiotics they put in the feed. If they can grow pure meat in sterile lab conditions that tastes well at a reasonable price, I'm sure we can get the rest some other way. Like here you have refined sugar, almost pure carbs. Here you have

      • There are plenty of stories in the news of kids from vegan parents suffering from malnutrition, even death. And some of the deficiencies could be very subtle, and develop over many years.

        Poor nutrition is already costing us billions in healthcare. Just the cost of diabetes is over $250 billion per year, most of which could be avoided by better food.

        I agree we have the capability to come up with a fake meat product that is just as nutritionally good as real meat, but there is no incentive for the producer t

  • The big misconception going on here is that Hampton Creek is developing lab meat for vegan consumption. Actually this will be a totally different market, sold first to environmentally conscious meat eaters and then, as the process scales up and comes down in cost, as a replacement for meat in the regular marketplace.

    Vegetarians might eat lab meat because their objection to meat is specifically the idea of killing for it, but veganism is a religious movement that is going to automatically reject it as being

    • So as long as it tastes as crappy as the current meat "replacements" it's ok, but as soon as the artificial meat is on par in taste, texture and everything with the real deal it's verboten?

      Yup, sounds like a cult.

      In the meantime, I'll go to the vegan restaurant near my apartment, they have an awesome tofu based roast that tastes just like pork but can (by definition) not be stringily.

  • A lot of vegetarians can't handle meat without getting sick because their body stops producing enzymes to help digest it. A lot of people are going to get sick and confirmation bias kicks in. It will be the new MSG.
  • Off the top of my head it seems to me these guys were caught doing some pretty heavy channel stuffing in the last few months.
  • It's only fair to warn you, Mr. Chairman, that much of my evidence will be highly nauseating; it involves aspects of human nature that are very seldom discussed in public, and certainly not before a congressional committee. But I am afraid that they have to be faced,; there are times when the veil of hypocrisy has to be ripped away, and this is one them.
    You and I, gentlemen, have descended from a long line of carnivores. I see from you expressions that most of you don't recognize the term. Well, that's not

  • Just gross.

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